The University of Agder will have closer links to close to 100 companies in the NODE cluster, which supply technology, products and services to the energy and maritime industries.
This became clear after the university and the Global Centre of Expertise (GCE) NODE signed a three-year collaboration agreement last week. The agreement covers cooperation both on strategic and operational levels, and also includes shared resources and the involvement of students.
“We are very happy to have entered into a collaboration agreement with GCE NODE. Although UiA and the NODE companies have collaborated on many levels over several years, the agreement is a tool to further develop and strengthen our cooperation in specific areas, and make it a strategic priority for both parties”, says Gøril Hannås vice rector for external relations and innovation at UiA.
“We hope the agreement will facilitate the involvement of students and academic staff in the challenges and opportunities facing business and industry, through joint projects such as project assignments and internships. Not only will it make our courses more relevant to employers, it also exemplifies good co-creation in practice”, she says.
The GCL NODE management is also content with the new agreement, which will run until 2024.
“A strong relationship between the industry and the university sector is at the very heart of building a viable region. We have enjoyed a close connection with the University of Agder for many years, and we are delighted to formalise an agreement which will contribute to improved value-creation in Agder”, says Tom Fidjeland, CEO of GCE NODE on NODE's website.
“A cooperation with the University of Agder is important in numerous ways, but the education of skilled personnel with relevant industry expertise is the top priority. By working closely with the various faculties and departments, we ensure that the university provides skill sets and competence that is useful for the industry sector”, he says.
Through the agreement, the parties aim to identify strategic efforts and priorities in areas where they have common interests. This includes the development and implementation of joint RD&I projects and other efforts to increase research-based innovation.
The agreement also regulates PhD and postdoc positions, and the development of learning programmes relevant to the NODE companies, and the marketing and communication of such programmes.
“We will of course offer internships and student projects and continue a scheme where key personnel in the industry can work part-time at the university and the other way around”, says Tom Fidjeland.